The global market for Thermal Power is projected to exceed 23 Trillion Kilowatt-hours (kWh) by 2024, driven by spiraling electricity demand, growing prominence of pollution free power generation and the resulting need to install thermal power plants with enhanced operational efficiencies and reduced emissions.
A thermal power plant is an electricity generating station, where a wide variety of fuels such as coal, natural gas, or oil are burnt to boil water and produce steam, which, in turn is used to rotate a turbine connected to an electricity-producing generator. Boiler, generator, and turbine represent the three basic systems required to produce electricity in a thermal power plant. Thermal power plants process large quantities of fossil fuels and are expected to continue meeting the growing demand for power from the ballooning global population through the year 2050. Despite coal-fired thermal power dominance in the global energy mix, several issues hamper market prospects for coal in the long term. Coal flourished for centuries mainly because it was cheap, reliable and abundantly available. However, it is also the most polluting of all fossil fuels. Power plants that are coal fired release some very harmful pollutants such as nickel, mercury, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and arsenic, among others, into the atmosphere. Around the world, governments are slowly and steadily halting coal mining leases, shelving new projects and shutting out existing projects, in order to place a major curb on the pollution-causing coal-based power generation. Revamping the old infrastructure with new clean coal technologies is garnering utmost importance in the current scenario, representing the primary factor sustaining growth momentum for thermal power generation.
Despite the environmental concerns surrounding the usage of coal as a source of fuel to generate power, the global thermal power generation is projected to grow at a healthy rate in the coming years as modern thermal power generation plants show major improvements in the aspects of emissions reduction and operational efficiency. The improved plant designs, prioritizing on emissions reduction, would enable coal to play a substantial role in the global power mix in the future, despite its declining share over the years amidst the increasing popularity of renewable energy sources (RES) such as solar, wind and hydro. Few of the efficient thermal power generation technologies supported by governments in countries across the world include IGCC (integrated-gasification-combined-cycle), CCGT (combined-cycle-gas-turbines), CCS (carbon-capture-and-storage) and CHP (combined-heat-and-power). Other important factors poised to benefit market prospects include rising investments in clean coal technology-based power capacity expansions; increasing adoption of cogeneration units; and growing prominence of gas-based thermal power supported by steady replacement of long-serving boiler-based steam heating systems with advanced natural-gas-fired heating systems.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest and the fastest growing market worldwide with a projected CAGR of 6.4% over the analysis period. China and India are at the forefront of this growth. Despite significant slowdown in the pace of incremental additions of coal-fired power capacity in China over the next few years, coal continues to command the lion's share in the country's thermal power production pie for the near term, while India continues to depend on coal for over 65% of its energy needs. Availability of vast coal resources, increasing public and private investment in infrastructure projects, continuous industrial development, improving living standards, steady economic growth, rapid industrialization & urbanization, and expanding population, represent other important growth drivers in the region.
Key power generation companies in the market include AES Corporation, American Electric Power Company Inc., Beijing Jingneng Power Co., Ltd., China Huaneng Group, China Huadian Corporation, Dominion Energy, Inc., Duke Energy Corporation, Dynegy, Inc., EDF, Enel S.p.A., EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, Energy Future Holdings Corp., Engie, Iberdrola, S.A., National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, NRG Energy, Inc., Southern Company, SSE plc, Tata Power, and The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated. Key power generation equipment companies covered in the report include Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Doosan Power Systems, GE Power, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS), Siemens Power and Gas, and Toshiba Corporation Energy Systems & Solutions Company.